Sunday, July 25, 2010

"We pray for the Canadians to change their mind and stay."

KANDAHAR - There is anger and disappointment, mixed with a sense of disbelief, among western supporters in Afghanistan’s second largest city over Canada’s decision to bring its troops home next summer.

"People are very upset about this. Why leave us?" said Jalani Hamayoun, the former deputy governor of Kandahar and a candidate in parliamentary elections in September. . .

- from an excellent story by Matthew Fisher, confirming what the Canada-Afghanistan Solidarity Committee has found (full report here):

"Across the spectrum of the many Afghans we have consulted, the anticipated withdrawal of Canadian troops is regarded with a mix of apprehension, resignation, regret, confusion, and gratitude. None were happy with Canada’s decision to withdraw troops. This is consistent with a series of national public opinion polls undertaken in Afghanistan about the presence of foreign troops generally. While it routinely comes as a surprise to Canadians to learn this, the majority of Afghans favour the presence of foreign troops in their country. While views are sometimes mixed and hotly contested in regard to withdrawal timetables and military strategy and tactics, and levels of support tend to rise and fall, the majority of Afghans have consistently supported the UN-mandated, NATO-led ISAF effort in their country. . ."

From my essay in today's Calgary Herald: "I know what people in the world think about Afghanistan, because they always show the bombs and the killing. But they don't show the good news. For me," Yasameen said, "playing soccer, going out, shopping, the games I like playing, bicycle races -- this is not wrong. There are bad things. But I am not scared."


Blogger Jonathan Colvin said...

I'm pretty dubious about the accuracy of opinion polls in Afghanistan regarding support for the Taliban. Assuming you were an Afghan who supported the Taliban, what benefit would you accrue from admitting such to a pollster, considering that the potential cost is a visit from the NDS for some friendly questioning? It would be rather like going door-to-door in BC asking people if they were running a grow-op; and then concluding from the response the non-existence of grow-ops in BC. Meanwhile, the recent ICOS poll in the south found:

-- 75 percent believe foreigners disrespect their religion and traditions

-- 74 percent believe working with foreign forces is wrong

-- 68 percent believe NATO forces do not protect them

-- 65 percent believe the Taliban and its leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar, should join the Afghan government.

11:29 PM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

Keeping telling yourself that, Colvin. You're "dubious" about polls that tell you things you don't like. The poll you like?

"The survey was based on interviews last month with 552 Afghan men in Kandahar and Helmand provinces. . ."

Big surprise it bucks the trend.

11:41 PM  
Blogger dmurrell said...

I have voted for Stephen Harper in the past, and consider myself a "conservative" who stromgly opposes the spread of Islamism, both here in Canada and abroad. I have staunchly supported our mission in Afghanistan - producing two different car decals and mailling out thousands to people across Canada.

As much as I have supported Harper in the past, he is extremely lazy about supporting our troops. Rarely does he leave his PMO office to make a statement in support of them. And Michael Ignatieff is no better. (He has Bob Rae and and Denis Codere as his foreign policy spokesmen - not excactly encouraging as voices to support Afghanistan human rights).

During his first year as prime minister, Harper gave support to our troops - once even appearing for an impompu speech as a Red Friday rally. But now, there are few organizations or journalists supporting our effort. Our big corporate media - CBC news, CTV news, the TorStar newspapers, the Globe and Mail - devote almost all of their powerful resources opposing the effort.

For example, when head of CBC News, Tony Burman, directed CBC News to report only negative stories. (During the Israeli-Hezbolla conflict, CBC News rarely interviewed Jewish spokerspersons). For this, and other slanted journalism practices, Burman now heads up al Jezeera English TV.

Or take the Globe and Mail's Graeme Smith. When head of the Globe's Afghanistan bureau, Smith wrote article after article supporting the Taliban point of view. In one article, he endorsed the Taliban's summary execution of an anti-Taliban "spy", who informed U.S. troops of Taliban movements. The left-wing Globe always gave Smith's pro-Taliban rants front-page coverage.

Look at Omar Khadr. A product of the notorious pro-Taliban Khadr family, he is now considered a national hero by our corporate media and NGO allies.

Terry in his post gives promient mention to Canada's only pro-Afghanistan advocacy group. But how many pro-free Afghan or pro-defence groups are there? Compare this to the huge number of pro-Islanist-"peace" groups in Canada! Compared the the brave few who support our effort, the combined resources of left-wing NGOs, "church" groups, Islamist groups make the brave few seem so isolated. I follow the news closely -- and in the past years I have never seen a grassroots pro-free-Afghainistan spokesperson on TV.

Canada's media depict our brave soldiers as: being killed, killing innocent civilians, or torturing captured Taliban. That's it. We know that the NGO-"peace"-Islamist complex wants a Taliban victory, and a restoration of their government. On a CBC news show, Aminesty International head Alex Neve once defended the Taliban's war effort against international troops. (The CBC News host let that comment slip by without questioning him).

Stephen Harper is too timid to support our troops, and to extend the mission. He realizes the raw political power Canada's radical left, and our corporate news media, wield.
-- David Murrell
Fredericton, NB

3:54 AM  
Blogger RadicalOmnivore said...

"If Canada had asked the question, our government and most of our people would have said, ‘Yes, you should stay,’ " Raee said. "That is why Canada didn’t ask us. That was not the answer they wanted to hear."

Sometimes I think we're easier to bullshit than the Afghans...

7:54 AM  
Blogger Marc said...

The answer they want to hear is mostly based on the mainstream media being lazy and not doing their job. They cover dead bodies and that's about it. I've been there, I want to go back, I don't feel we've done enough.
Harper has supported us in many ways that are not covered in the media, I have to assume largess in that regard, the support is much better than any other politico currently in service, who go from Liberal blind ignorance to NDP trying to kill us and the PQ hatting anything we do, including help them.
It's no wonder people want us out.
Most people I converse with come to me and say they want us to come home. I spend 5 minutes explaining things and they change their mind.

1:14 PM  
Blogger EscapeVelocity said...

One thing is certain, if Canadians are responsible for defending your freedom and human rights, even protecting you from genocide, be afraid, be very afraid.

2:50 PM  
Blogger Marc said...

So Escape, I take it your from Toronto?

2:18 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Colvin said...

What makes you think I "like" one poll or the other? I'm dubious about the accuracy of any opinion poll in Afghanistan regarding support for the Taliban, and you'd have to be pretty naive not to be. I'd much prefer it if all Afghans welcomed us with open arms full of daisies and puppies, so it's hardly the case that I "like" polls that suggest it ain't necessarily so.

5:31 PM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

I surmise you "like" the poll because you cited it approvingly, because it confirms your bigoted views about Afghans, and because it it doesn't matter to you that it's a rough survey of a few hundred backcountry Halmandi and Kandahari hillbillies, all male, that stands in stark contrast to a baker's dozen scientifically conducted national opinion surveys, focus group analyses and opinion polls undertaken in Afghanistan that demonstrate unequivocally that all the empirical evidence is against you, and you have none in your favour.

6:37 PM  

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